Frightened Rabbit & Opinions on A.R. Rahman and Morrissey

Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit stop by during their tour through North America. Tune in to hear their conversation with Jim and Greg, as well as performances from their heartbreak-inspired album The Midnight Organ Fight. Plus, reviews of A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire and Morrissey’s latest album.

Frightened Rabbit
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Music News

The first news item this week is a sad one for Jim, Greg and all indie music fans in and outside of Chicago. Long-time label Touch and Go Records has announced that it is shrinking its business and cutting ties with more than 20 other indie labels. Label founder Corey Rusk made a statement explaining that Touch and Go can no longer afford to provide manufacturing and distribution services to such labels as Drag City, Flameshovel and Kill Rock Stars. This announcement is especially disheartening since it comes on the heels of the label’s 25th anniversary.

Anyone who discounted Madonna after she turned 50 will be surprised to hear that she is as relevant as ever—at least commercially. According to Billboard, the pop star is the top-earning artist of 2008 with over $240 million. As Jim and Greg explain, this is not just good news for Madonna, but for her 360 promoters Live Nation. Distantly trailing the Material Girl are Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and Celine Dion—not a youngin’ in the bunch.

Frightened Rabbit

When some people go through a break-up, they turn to their family, friends or a pint of ice cream. But Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit turned to songwriting. In fact, the Scottish quartet’s new album Midnight Organ Fight, was almost entirely inspired by the devastating end to a relationship. As he and bandmate/brother Grant Hutchison explain to Jim and Greg—the music ended up being cathartic, not just for them, but for audiences as well. Scott, the group’s singer and guitarist, has moved on to a new relationship, but the heartbreak lives on in songs like Poke and " The Modern Leper, which you can hear performed live in our studio. Hear all the songs here.

Slumdog Millionaire A.R. Rahman

Slumdog Millionaire (Music From the Motion Picture)

The Oscars air this Sunday, and one the nominees up for a number of awards is A.R. Rahman, the man behind the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman is a giant in the Bollywood world, and now many people are comparing him to mainstream giants like Bernard Herrmann and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Jim wouldn’t go that far. He thinks there are a number of intoxicating tracks that incorporate sitar, African drumming and techno. But he doesn’t find the soundtrack to be a beginning-to-end success. Jim gives the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack a Try It. Greg agrees that some of the songs are too melodramatic, but because of the tremendous rhythms, he thinks they work. He recommends the album as a perfect introduction to Rahman’s music and gives the Oscar-nominated soundtrack a Buy It.

Years of Refusal Morrissey

Years of Refusal

Morrissey is back with a new album, Years of Refusal, and an old attitude. The songs on his last release Ringleader of the Tormentors showed a softer, happier side of the Irish rocker. But, as his fans know, Moz is best when he is miserable. Greg compares his newfound mid-life aggression to that of Nick Cave. The quips aren’t as witty as some of Morrissey’s best, but the music is as good as ever. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees. This is some of the best work Morrissey has ever done. He also gives a Buy It rating.

Greg

Fleetwood Mac has reunited for another tour, inspiring Greg’s Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. While most people think of Lindsay Buckingham or Stevie Nicks, Greg’s favorite incarnation of Fleetwood Mac was the earliest, with British blues guitarist Peter Green. An idol to peers like Eric Clapton, Green heavily influenced heavy metal musicians. But, he was also hit hard by LSD use. According to Greg, you can hear Green’s descent into madness, as well as his guitar skills, in this week’s DIJ song, Fleetwood Mac’s Green Manalishi.

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